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Mummified mammoth calf Lyuba makes London debut

Lyuba at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL in 2010.
Lyuba at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL in 2010.
Wikimedia Commons

Lyuba, a 41,800-year old mummified baby mammoth has become the “toast” of London, now appearing at a new exhibit “Mammoths: Ice Age Giants” at the city’s Natural History Museum from May 23 to September 7. Lyuba is on loan from the Shemanovskiy Museum and Exhibition Center in Salekhard, Russia.

The female calf was originally discovered by a Yuri Khudi, a Nenets reindeer breeder and hunter and his sons, on the Yuribey river in Russia's Arctic Yamal Peninsula in May 2007. Named for Khudi’s wife, Lyuba has since become an international “star” as the best preserved mammoth in the world, with her eyes and trunk were intact, some fur still on her body, and skin and internal organs in pristine condition. In fact, scientists were able to identify milk from her mother and feces in her intestines.

About the size of a large dog, the baby mammoth weighs about 110 lbs, and measures 33.5” high, and 51” inches long from truck to tail. Studies of her teeth also show that she was only about 36-days old when she is believed to have suffocated by inhaling mud as she struggled while bogged down in deep mud in a riverbed. Scientists have also speculated that Lyuba’s body “may have been colonized by lactic acid-producing bacteria, which, literally served to‘pickle’ her.”